Griselle Caridad Nodarse (AKA Gracie) Mr.Cuccio gave me this name as he said my name is too hard to say. The Caridad means Charity and caring, and the Nodarse means
I was born in Havana, Cuba.
We moved with family to the United States when I was 5 years old the night of my birthday April 30th 30 years ago. Cuba is a communist Country and the future for a young lady is either become a Doctor or work for the Military. There was no independent life to be enjoyed and we had only what my father provided with his connections to put food on the table, but we never went hungry. The opportunity to come to the United States came from my Grand Father an (Anti-Castro) who was an exile living in Florida USA. When he and one out of 5 brothers left Cuba to save their lives during the Castro Revolution against the Batista government. He came to the USA and established grocery stores and would send help back to us for years until he and my one uncle took their own Family Fishing boat and went to get us. If you could imagine the night of my birthday, I was getting ready to go to school the next day and putting my books in a book bag my parents gave me for my birthday it was light blue with white speckles. I heard a loud crowd outside the door. I always saw some suite cases by the door but never knew what those were for later I learned they were bags to leave Cuba thru Spain that was another plan my grandfather had for us where he had paid 5,000 to get us Visas. But this night came first, and it was the journey that was open for us to freedom. When I say freedom, I mean you could not talk about anything I lived in fear that the government would come and take you to prison me or my 2 younger sisters or my parents.
We were picked up by a big bus and neighbors just screaming to us it was a riot yelling you traitors get out. Basically, they needed to create this big picture because the government wanted to let everyone know it is better to stay in Cuba with no food or medicine or future. We were brought to a camp I call the concentration camp the government stripped us of all anything they thought was of value to shame you for leaving. We remember the body search as it was impropriate for children and left bad memories as the stripped us from our dolls and items I remember where of sentimental value. We stayed there in this camp with thousands of people in tents. There were communal showers and a place where they handed out food in little boxes. Until we heard our last name NODARSE. We were so happy to hear our name they brought us to a dock and there was my grandfather and uncle who I never met till then. We were put in the lower cabin to sail away for protection incase the government put strangers in our boat. During that night a big storm hit our path and we had to call the USA Coast Guard and they came to our rescue, I remember getting on board and looking at everything was so shinny and the bathroom had soap dispenser, toilet paper and the men were tall blonde with blue eyes. They were so nice gave us blankets and food. When we got to America Soil we were greeted with signs and so much food they told us what ever we wanted we could have. We were evaluated for our health dehydrated but got Coca Cola and lots of delicious candy bars to enjoy. The air and the people looked and smelled so different.
My family that left back in the Castro Revolution agains Batista greeted us and I remember my family was given so much love and things just to get by. But this is were it starts. My dad and mom started right awayto get jobs not just one job 3 jobs and they brought us along we helped cleaning offices at night, I remember one of my dadas job was as cleaning a 5 Star restaurant in Palm Beach and the chef always left him food. Then my dad was given a great opportunity, at one of his accounts he was able to solve a problem because he was an engineer in Cuba. He was given a full time permanent job as a Ambulance Fabricator Head forwman he was the boss there for a couple of years and then became the owner, my mom went to school and became a CPA accountant and a Insurance Agent opened her first office and still there. They were able to buy a house and cars.
I took after my parents as the oldest. I went to school and never wanted to cause any extra expense to my parents, if that meant riding my bike to school I did it. I started to love the beauty industry, so I started by opening up a full-blown salon in my bedroom. I did nails and hair and make up at 9 and all of my sisters’ friends for their dances and 15th Birthdays. I then started High School and worked part time at a business store in a popular Mall my uncle owned that sold earrings and make up all the beauty things I loved. I also signed up for the Cosmetology program during the day in High School. I graduated with a degree that I still to this day think it was the smartest move I ever did to be be self sufficient as a woman I knew I could take this knowledge any where!
Little time went buy and I bought my own car, established my own credit and bought my first Salon after this I had 3 Salons. A couple years later I sold them and had it in my mind that I wanted to continue to grow and experience new opportunities in this industry. I decided I wanted to work at the best Spas in South Florida, so I did just that! I became a Consultant (Opening and helping them achieve the best Spas in South Florida) for the Elite and Best Spas in South Florida the Vesage Mansion,Ritz Carlton, Mar A Lago in Palm Beach ect. Did this for a couple of years had a great life and the clientele was all Celebraty based I met and dined with the most famous Celebrities Whitney Houston,Donal Trump,Star, Lennox Lewis,Beach Boys,Ivana Trump,Peter Loftin,Colin Farrel,Bobby Brown,Yanni the list will be long but it was exiting to be in the glamour light!
Then I just felt that I wanted to get in the background of how the products got to the professionals hands so I joined a Distributor and became a Consultant for all their brands servicing the rest of the Spas in South Florida. That was a different level that taught me the requirements that are necessary for a professional to do what they do and at the same time assist the Spa and Salon owner achive and get the best products and knowledge so they can provide and offer to their customer base the services they want to be known for. I did this for a couple years and its how I got to know Cuccio.
I sold Cuccio products to salon and spas but really get to the next level which is supplying a different customer that is the Distributors. One day just like any other I was given some products to take to a rep in Boca Raton. I remember telling this Rep that I had just came back from a California trip on a vacation and how beautiful it was there. I told him that place was just really cool and that nothing would be holding me back if I ever decided to move there. Next thing I knew I was being recruited by Mr. Cuccio because of my experience and being bilingual. I flew out to Malibu in the dark to the top of a mountain and there sat the All Glass house that I was given keys to stay at for the week during my interview.
Mr.Cuccio called me the next day and said I see you made it up the mountain in the middle of the night. He said, what would you like to do today? I said well I was just going to stay here until Monday for my interview at the office. He said do you love Horses? I said YESSS! Well he said how would you like to have your interview at the track? I said sure. Long story short he picked me up in his Bentley I was so nervous but my eyes were the same as when I got to this country. I saw another side of this country and smelled like new opportunities were in front of me. Next thing I new he was interviewing me at the track and later explained that the reason why he did that was to see my reaction and responses when in from of winning or loosing. Sometimes we have to take a chance in life.
I met with the rest of the Cuccio Team on Monday and was hired. I flew back home and got my Jeep and arranged for my dog Cosmo to come with me on this journey. I rented a studio apartment close to work and went to work for 2 years all I did was work, work out and be with my dog. I became Cuccio Sales Manager for Export accounts and Mr.Cuccio right hand. I started to travel to different countries and started to gain distributors trust and support them with much needed attention. I connected with them like no other had done in my position and implemented new communication ideas for my company that were so helpful. I opened up many distribution channels thru Europe and South and Central America. I focused on places where we didn’t have distribution and managed to open them in other parts of the world. I travel around the world and embrace the new and existing relationships with my distributors. I been with Cuccio for 10 years this June and have traveled to over 50 countries. Being part of Cuccio is being part of many things you have to be a ready to do things you get introduced to from developing products, doing trade shows, teaching about the products to listening to your customers at all sorts of the time in the day, Cuccio is an experience and I love that about my role as it is always changing. During Covid it made me feel that I wasn’t the only one going thru roller-coaster. I expressed the caring and well-deserved feelings to the distributors, and they know I’m there for them.